Djordje Stefanovic

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2016/2017
discipline Sociology
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax

Research project

The Way Home: Peaceful Return of Victims of Forced Displacement in Eastern Europe and Middle East


During the course of the Eurias fellowship year I plan to complete a research programme on the peaceful reversals of forced displacement and the revival of multicultural societies. UNHCR (2015) reports that the global population of forced migrants exceeded 51.2 million persons by the end of 2013. Whilst several scholars have focused on ethnic cleansing, until now, only a handful of academic studies have examined voluntary return. Amongst those the general assumption is that forced displacements are irreversible once new demographic facts are established on the ground.


The project aims to challenge this assumption by investigating cases of return and non-return. Specifically, it focuses on cases of forced displacement in Bosnia, Turkey, Cyprus, Iraq, and Syria and probes the following issues: (i) How do victims of displacement choose to return to their pre-conflict homes; (ii) What factors explain initial intentions and sustainable returns; and (iii) How could novel institutional solutions address the immediate and long term needs of the displaced.


The project combines large-n surveys amongst the displaced with focused comparisons of cases representing different stages of displacement and return. In Cyprus, the project focuses on intentions among the internally displaced as return options are not available yet; in Turkey, it examines return under conditions of continuing low level violence in the Kurdish regions; in post-Dayton Bosnia, it investigates the conditions that led to sustainable and non-sustainable returns; and finally, for Syria and Iraq, it will analyze living conditions and return intentions of the recent victims of on-going massive forced migrations caused by civil wars.


Although there are a number of policy-oriented studies of refugee returns, theoretical and

comparative works are rare. The project makes a significant contribution to current theoretical and policy work with the creation of new methodological tools and a testable framework for the study of voluntary return. The project’s innovations will enable specialists and international organizations to conduct related surveys, to assess voluntary return intentions, to identify institutional designs more likely to facilitate return and to examine critical concerns of victims that must be addressed to make returns imaginable.




Djordje Stefanovic is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Criminology of Saint Mary’s University, Halifax. He holds a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Toronto. His main research areas are quantitative methods, social inequality, historical and political sociology, ethnic conflicts, and forced migration. He has previously collaborated on projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Leverhulme Trust, and the British Academy and has been a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford from 2008 to 2010.


Selected publications


'Home is Where the Heart Is? Forced Migration and Voluntary Return in Turkey’s Kurdish Regions', with N. Loizides & S. Parsons, Journal of Refugee Studies [online journal], feu029, published 9 November 2014.


'The Way Home: Peaceful Return of Victims of Ethnic Cleansing', with N. Loizides, Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 2, 2011, pp. 408-430.

'Kosovo, 1944–1981: The Rise and the Fall of a Communist 'Nested Homeland'', with A. Petrović, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 62, no. 7, 2010, pp. 1073-1106.

'The Path to Weimar Serbia? Explaining the Resurgence of the Serbian Far Right After the Fall of Milosevic', Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 31, no. 7, 2008, pp. 1195-1221.


'Seeing the Albanians through Serbian Eyes: The Inventors of the Tradition of Intolerance and Their Critics, 1804-1939', European History Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 3, 2005, pp. 465-492.



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